Building Generations

The individualised concept of life is prevalent in the west today. It robs us of a real appreciation of what we are doing as parents. We are not just caring for children until they can care for themselves. We are not just giving them a valid set of values to take into life. We are not just setting them up for as successful a life journey as they can achieve. We are BUILDING GENERATIONS.

Here’s a way to think about it that might help you get the message.

Imaging a young lady, somebody’s daughter, who has tow potential suitors. One suitor is a fine young man. He is slim, athletic, handsome, articulate, smart, achievement oriented, with good grades, strong personality, good communication skills, a winning smile, animated and caring tones in his speech, and so on. This young man is not only an ideal choice, he is voted so by many of the young ladies and their mothers. He is surely going to be a popular choice and make the young lady the envy of all who know her.

The other suitor is more of a plodder. He is a steady chap from a stable family. He is more retiring and less adventurous, but he is polite, reliable, and genial. While not striking in appearance he could be considered good looking. He is not athletic in build, and may tend toward being overweight, as his father is. What makes this man attractive as a suitor is his expressed affection for the young lady. He seems quite struck on her and he would certainly make a reliable and loving husband.

Telescoping through time we now look two generations ahead and see the generational outcomes of these choices.

The grandchildren of the enviable suitor are a mess. His unfaithfulness and the breakdown of his married caused his children to enter into a range of relationships looking for something to ease their pain. Because he violated the values he taught to his children they lost faith in values and religion and became increasingly cynical of life itself. The children that they bore, in turn, were raised in broken homes, in unsteady relationships with very little anchor in normality.

The grandchildren of the other suitor are lost in materialism. His steady life was lived in self-reliance, in pursuit of human happiness. His children also learned to live to themselves and each chose their best course to achieve that. The grandchildren, then, were born into homes devoid of spiritual reality. They each set out to find fulfillment in the collection of material goods, pursuit of human happiness and quest per personal achievement.

There was no happy choice between these two. For the daughter’s future is not invested in Mr Right. It is not found by a well-suited marriage. It is not achieved by the luck of the draw or the happy choice of someone who will do them proud.

Human happiness and success comes from the Lord. Promotion and good outcomes do not come from the north, south, east or west. They do not come from clever choices, good luck or the reliability of others. They come from the Lord.

To make matters worse, those who look to humans to bring them anything at all are putting their trust in “man”. The prophet Jeremiah warns us that we are cursed if we put out trust in man and look to human resources to provide for us – see Jeremiah 17:5-8).

Generations are built as a result of the matches made. We do not find a bride or a “hubby”. We do not just have some “kids” as part of our own personal journey. We are building generations. The children and the children’s children will be seriously impacted by the choice of spouse.

For further comment on this topic see the posting “Why did you choose HER to be my mother?” at:“why-did-you-choose-her-to-be-my-mother

In summary – recognize that you are BUILDING GENERATIONS, not pursuing your own ends or your own happiness.

But then realize that YOU NEED GOD TO BE IN CHARGE OF THE PROCESS – since you are surely not able to control it yourself. You do not know the end from the beginning – but God does.

Your Internal View of Yourself

A phenomenon which has long fascinated me is the formation of an internal view of ourselves which influences who we are and what we become.As far back as 1985 I was making notes on this theme, so before I discuss some of my current observations I will give you some of the background to my thinking. Here is the note I made back in 1985….Vietnamese boat people arrive here in flight from their homeland. – with only what they can carry – robbed by pirates and respected only as “refugees”.In the refugee camps around the world people are hoarded together and reduced to the point where they are denied any respect of wealth, education or social status.Yet when these people are resettled or can return to their homeland, they very quickly restore themselves to the status and wealth they had lost. Despite the fact that they all re-start as equals the ‘equality’ quickly disappears as some soar to success and wealth while others languish.What unseen quality assures wealth to the wealthy and success to the successful, despite the loss of both in the mid-stream?It is the personal ‘inner view’ held by the individual. When a person knows their self to be wealthy and successful they can be stripped of everything but that inner knowledge. Upon release from the restrictive circumstances that deny expression of previous wealth and success, the individual automatically sets themself on a course to regain that which they know is theirs.Within the refugee camp people can appear identical in appearance and stature, but within each individual is a personal value that resembles exactly the status they are measuring out for them self. This is what they will attain to when given the opportunity. Their potential is intrinsically linked to their inner view of who and what they are. [When I wrote my book, Family Horizons, in 1995 I drew on the example of refugees being resettled in a city to point out that people have differing “horizons” for themselves.  So this idea of each person’s “inner view” is something that remains significant in my observations of people and life.] 

A Whimsy on Women

A reflection on the Commercialisation of Motherhood – written in 1986.

I suppose it was back in primeval days that womankind was honoured for such qualities as tenderness and grace.
It could only have been most primitive man who would have found wonder in devotion and a compassionate face.
Now, in these more modern days a questing man would focus his earnest and most tender gaze, deep into his woman’s …… Kitchen Cupboards!!
For therein, if I perceive the matter well, are the clues that her greatest virtues tell. How do I love thee, let me count the ways.
With Palmolive hands, Colgate smile and non-irritant fly-sprays.
Your choice of bread and how it’s spread, the soap you make me use,
My breakfast treats, and midday sweets! I love the things you choose! And how to tell a perfect mum is these days simple too.
Just watch the things she does and what she buys for you. 
When faced with clothes in filthy piles she breaks into her broadest smiles.
For washing doesn’t make mum drab – she tackles it with Preen and Fab! Good on ya mum, you’re ridgy-didge,
with frozen wonders in the fridge.
Grace and charm and love are SLOP!
We know you’re great by the way you SHOP! (for those who remember ….
If my thoughts seem just a little harsh…
Know dear, I’d rather you, than Madge or Mrs Marsh!)



Catholic Church’s New Sins

The Vatican has now defined an extended list of sins – updating a tradition that is 1500 years old. And, may I say, it signals a crumbling of the Catholic Church.

That’s a dramatic suggestion and it’s not intended to be anything but an observation. Consider what is happening here and make your own assessment.

A recent Milan Catholic University survey of Italian Catholics, arguably as devout a constituency as could be found on the planet, showed a serious change in attitude toward perennial Catholic practice. Attendance at confession is no longer practiced by 60% of Italian Catholics.

The Catholic University showed that 30 percent of Italian Catholics believed that there was no need for a priest to be God’s intermediary and 20 percent felt uncomfortable talking about their sins to another person.

These findings prompted Pope Benedict XVI to express concern over rising secularization. He told a seminar group that hedonism and consumerism had even invaded “the bosom of the Church itself, deeply undermining the Christian faith from within, and undermining the lifestyle and daily behaviour of believers”.

In apparent response to this trend Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti of the Vatican Apostolic Penitentiary told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that priests must take account of “new sins which have appeared on the horizon of humanity as a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalisation”.

“You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbour’s wife, but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos,” he said.

Now the Vatican says it is time to modernize the list of sins to fit a global world.

Commendable as it may be to draw attention to all forms of wrong, including those that have previously been sidelined, the TREND of what is happening is more significant than the detail.

Here we have one of the most powerful forces in Christendom acting as a handmaiden to social pressures beyond its control. In previous generations this would never be so. In centuries past the Catholic Church set the trend. Indeed Christianity has imposed itself on cultures, nations, families and individuals with profound impact again and again since it was born 2,000 years ago. Christianity has never had to be a handmaiden to society, but rather called society to accept its truths, receive its grace, comprehend its worldview and cooperate with its agenda.

So, I find this latest invention alarming. It signals that the Catholic Church has somehow embraced a position of powerlessness. It almost ascribes the greatest social prominence to the “forces of globalism”, probably including such corporations as McDonalds and Microsoft.

At the same time however, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is still as powerful as ever. The truth of Christianity owes nothing to global forces, but stands in their face and in their way, not needing to step aside to accommodate human culture. The Spirit of God does not need a new sales-pitch or a new message. The old rugged cross, that amazing grace and the church triumphant proceed full-force in this new millennium without apology and without need to re-invent themselves. Praise God for a Saviour who does not change, for grace that is always sufficient and for a hope that is eternal.

The Catholic Church may be signaling by this significant step that it has lost confidence in the gospel which spawned it. It will be interesting to observe, over the next decade or so, if similar expressions of accommodation emerge from the papal corridors.

Believers the world over, be they in traditional churches or underground gatherings, in cathedrals or jungle huts, need not be tempted to uncertainly or doubts about the relevance of their long-held faith. The rock cut out of the mountain is still growing into a mountain that fills the earth – and that is the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sources: Reuters – Vatican lists “new sins,” including pollution / Times Online – Seven new deadly sins: are you guilty? / CNN – Vatican Updates Sins. March 10, 2008

Marriage Scriptures

Due to requests for Bible Verses about Marriage I have compiled a quick list of Marriage Scriptures which give people access to some key thoughts about marriage as discussed in the Bible.Much that is taught about marriage is not listed neatly but is embedded into the broader picture of God’s dealings with people. For that reason some of the important truths need to be mined – dug out of the pages of the Bible. That does not mean the truths are not important, but rather that our whole life walk with God is more important than any one aspect of that journey.The following collection of Bible Verses on Marriage covers some of the Key Thoughts. At a later time I will collate a discussion about Bible Verses from the early chapters of Genesis – since Jesus referred back to them. But for now, here are the Key Scriptures.

God Created Marriages

“And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, he made into a woman, and brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:22

Husbands are to Love their Wife

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” Ephesians 5:25

Husbands are to Cling to their Wife

“Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will cling to his wife: and they will be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

Wives are to Submit to their Husband

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22

God Hates Divorce

“For the LORD, the God of Israel, says he hates putting away (divorce): for one covers violence with his garment, says the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16

God Created Sex

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27

God Wants Marriages to Produce Godly Children

“And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And why one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.” Malachi 2:15

Forgiveness is the Key to Happiness in the Home

“And be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

Love is Awesome

“Love suffers long, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not promote itself, is not puffed up, does not behave badly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” 1Corinthians 13:4-8

Marriage is a Covenant – so God is part of every marriage

“… the LORD hath been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant.” Malachi 2:14

God Joins the Couple Together so their Sexual Intimacy is not Sinful

“What therefore God has joined together, do not let man put asunder (separate).” Mark 10:9

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4